A total of 20 Malaysian startups have been selected to participate in the second edition of Petronas FutureTech 2.0, an intensive technology accelerator program led by the national oil company in collaboration with state-linked telco Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), plantation firm Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (SDP) and global venture capital firm 500 Startups.

The latest edition of the program received 368 applications, more than double compared to 165 for the first edition in 2019.

Petronas’ collaboration with TM and SDP aims to provide homegrown startups with opportunities to gain insights from industry experts that will help them discover, nurture and scale deep technology innovations in the country.

“FutureTech 2.0 underlines Petronas’ commitment to position itself as a progressive energy and solutions partner ready to deliver innovative, game-changing, and sustainable actions in facing the energy transition as well as consumer demand,” said Arni Laily Anwarrudin, Head of Petronas Ventures.

The 20 startups were chosen for their innovations to potentially solve challenges and uncover opportunities in Industry 4.0, specialty chemicals and advanced materials, the future of energy, digital transformation, and retail innovation.

20 startups were chosen in the second edition of Petronas FutureTech 2.0

Some of the selected startups include drone tech firm Aerodyne, cooking gas delivery firm BeliGas, 5G-connected vertical farm Boom Grow, plant-based burger patties firm Ira Noah, in-pipe hydropower system developer Xcess Pressure, among others.

Starting from August 30, these startups will take part in a 12-week virtual program which includes masterclasses, workshops, and coaching from 500 Startups’ global network of mentors, as well as experts from Petronas, TM and SDP.

The startups will also focus on creating commercial opportunities with the corporations and accelerate their commercialization path through various potential collaborations.

“With the synergy of Petronas, TM, and SDP, we aim to help them achieve global standards – namely by providing opportunities for innovation collaborations between these startups and the major corporations that can deliver value and create lasting impact in the country and beyond,” 500 Startups Regional Director of Asia Pacific Ee Ling Lim said.

At the end of the 12-week program, these startups will present their innovations and traction to potential investors and industry stakeholders on Demo Day. The chosen startups will then continue to work closely with Petronas, TM, and SDP in running and completing potential pilot projects to validate the technology with business divisions within these companies, Petronas said.

Following the first edition of Petronas FutureTech 2.0 in 2019, two startups have become investees of Petronas Ventures while the seven others are engaging with Petronas on the business front.

Petronas announced the collaboration with TM and SDP for the second edition of Petronas FutureTech 2.0 in June. The development comes as the Malaysian government intends to spur the startup ecosystem and encourage the private sector to invest in tech startups.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is the sole manager of Malaysia’s energy reserves, ranked amongst the largest corporations on Fortune Global 500. It is the world’s fourth-largest LNG exporter.

Petronas has set up a venture capital arm in 2019 to drive technology innovation and maintain a competitive edge to support its core oil and gas business for further growth.